Brother Brian K. Ashton, second counselor in the Sunday School general presidency for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, shared three simple lessons about finding greater joy in life — and ultimately obtaining exaltation with God.
Brother Ashton mentioned these specific thoughts in hopes that all in attendance would not take as long to learn these lessons as he did.
Lesson #1: If we want to feel joy, love, and peace, we must do the things that bring the Spirit into our lives
Brother Ashton shared a story about one the most difficult trials in his life: waiting for marriage. He found these years both frustrating and refining.
Even though nothing seemed to be going the way he wanted, he felt unbelievably happy because he was doing the things that brought the Spirit into his life.
"There were actually lots of moments of joy and happiness for me while [my girlfriend] was on her mission," said brother Ashton. "I missed her, but I also remember that time as one of general happiness. My life wasn't perfect — and quite honestly still isn't — but for the most part, I was happy."
Lesson #2: Satan offers counterfeit alternatives to all that God does in an attempt to confuse and deceive us
Reinforcing the Savior's teaching that "a corrupt tree [cannot] bring forth good fruit," brother Ashton described Satan as a corrupt tree who wants to make us miserable.
Brother Ashton mentioned a few ways Satan tries to deceive those on earth:
- He tries to persuade us to prioritize temporal things over spiritual things.
- He works hard to make sure that we often feel distracted.
- He wants us to believe our outward actions matter more than out inward motivations.
- He tries to assure us joy and happiness come from having an easy life or from simply having fun.
- He wants to convince us wickedness, with its temporary pleasures, really is happiness.
Brother Ashton contrasted the different feelings that come from Satan and the Holy Ghost, cautioning against being deceived.
"Satan tries to deceive us with counterfeits that can never bring lasting happiness, and even the elect can be deceived if they are not careful," said brother Ashton.
Lesson #3: It is usually the small things that bring the Spirit into our lives, keep us from being deceived and give us the power to obtain eternal life
Consistently doing the small things inspires individuals to yield their hearts and minds to God.
"In other words, doing the small things changes our hearts," said brother Ashton. "And when our hearts are turned to Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ, we can be both physically and spiritually active in the gospel."
Brother Ashton invited all in attendance to feast upon the scriptures daily and include something from the Book of Mormon in their study each day.
"When we feast on the scriptures, we invite the Spirit of the Lord into our lives," said brother Ashton. "And when we feel the Lord’s Spirit, we want to do these other 'small' things."
Next Devotional: Elder D. Todd Christofferson, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
The next BYU Devotional will be December 12 at 11:05 a.m. in the Marriott Center. Elder D. Todd Christofferson, member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will speak.